Dubai: The President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has lauded the efforts being put in by the UAE in spearheading the Paralympic Movement in the region.

Andrew Parsons, who was in Dubai last week to attend the five-day General Assembly of the Asian Paralympic Committee (APC) said that the work being done by the UAE will be a leading light for other nations to follow, if not emulate.

“In a way, the UAE already leads the region from a political and events point of view. The region is very big and there are other big nations such as China, Japan and Korea who have been around for some time now. But I certainly see the UAE as the leader by far, and along with the potential and skills, they are a generator of development for our Paralympic movement,” Parsons told Gulf News.

“I tend to look at the UAE in different ways. First of all, this is a country that is developing athletes in various sports and winning medals already at the highest levels. Secondly, the UAE plays an important role in hosting and staging competitions, workshops and clinics, while also being a centre of development for the entire region and Asia as a whole. Quite honestly, I see the UAE as a centre of the development spiral and that’s why the UAE is so important for us,” he added.

After spending more than two decades with the Paralympic Movement during which time he was chairperson of the Brazilian Paralympic Committee between 2009 to 2017, Parsons was elected as President of the IPC replacing Philip Craven. The Brazilian leads by example.

“I like to be hands on, and the drive that I had 21 years ago is still a part of me. I believe we can all make a difference in this world, so I believe in leading by example while working instead of merely talking,” Parsons said.

“We need to start by practically engaging more with the members and the regions at large. We have to be practical while doing this. We can’t wait for them to come to us. I feel it is better that we find ways to approach them and ask them what we can do to assist nations. We know that many countries will not come to us unless we know that we have a closer relationship with them,” he added.

Parsons further confided that the UAE could be an ideal partner to enhance the Paralympic Movement on the Asian continent. “I don’t see any reason why the UAE cannot bid for the IPC Paralympic Games. The Games are now under the agenda of the IOC [International Olympic Committee] whereby there is a lot of emphasis on having the Games more compact, more rational from an investment and utility point of view while also keeping an eye on the legacy that can be left behind,” he observed.

“I feel the UAE is an important player in the Paralympic Movement and this is a country that is also politically well positioned for them to come up with a bid,” he added.